Taking steps to move the needle on digital migration
By Niresh Shao 14 August 2011
Businesses are proving pretty successful at embracing digital communications, but often fall short when it comes to integrating these digital technologies into a comprehensive communications approach that can really boost bottom-line results. Just consider these findings from a recent DMA study:
Of those marketers that have begun to align their messages across channels, only 27% report effective integration. This means that 3 of 4 companies still feel their integration efforts are incomplete – and this in the area where integration is most advanced.
It’s no secret that it costs less to send an email than a letter or an e-bill than a paper statement—but that doesn’t mean that email, e-billing and other forms of digital information delivery will totally usurp the place of their hardcopy counterparts. Consumers want and expect choice and every new channel creates challenges for companies and their lines of business in determining how best to migrate to digital delivery in ways that address customer preferences and benefit the business.
So it’s not surprising the some companies that have been promoting paperless communications have hit a wall—and efforts to convert customers from paper to e-communications no longer provide a lift. Perhaps it’s time to try a new approach.
Data holds the key
In their Global Entertainment and Media Outlook for 2011-2015, PwC reports: “Data is key to the interface between consumers, content experience and brand as well as to innovation.” And that holds true for virtually every industry. Today, there is so much data, so much insight to be gleaned from it, and so many opportunities to improve service and communications through its use, that data emerges as the real lynchpin in optimizing the benefits of digital migration.
Putting data to use for maximum multichannel impact
Unfortunately, at most companies, data and communication platforms – like the companies themselves – are siloed. Therein lies the challenge. With each new channel and line-of-business, the number of silos continues to grow –but customers don’t care. They just want their interactions to be straightforward and simple: the right messages, delivered through the right channels at the right times and questions answered accurately and efficiently, regardless of point of contact.
Resolution of this problem can be boiled down to two key steps – and today’s powerful communications engines have both built in:
Step 1 is all about data quality, making data fit for use by scrubbing it, standardizing it, adding important insights like customer geodata and channel preferences – and automating this process so data quality is maintained over time. In many ways, it’s not about creating new data or datamarts, but rather making existing data more accessible to business users.
Step 2 is about using that data from all across the enterprise to deliver communications and service through the channels customers choose in an efficient and automated fashion. Smart printstream engineering, document vaults and multichannel communication platforms can drive delivery of communications regardless of medium. It can be prioritized a driven by choices from different lines of business. And, in the end, it can result in:
|Better print||Modify print streams on the fly and add personalized messagesInsert relevant offers that surprise and delight customers
Add Intelligent Mail® barcodes and gain valuable postal discounts
|Better digital||Deliver print documents online – as is, or specially formatted for digital deliverySupport every medium including email, SMS and web
Offer online bill payment
|Better service||Enable customers to communicate through their preferred channelsEnable customers to view their account in real time
Retrieve archived documents, regardless of delivery channel, in seconds for rapid response
The easiest and most flexible of these solutions actually supplement rather than supplanting existing systems – they act as connectors that transform and channel data for optimal use.
Don’t just migrate – integrate